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By Transcription or Transliteration and Explication of Their Genuine Nationally Specific Meaning

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In many a case the lingual form of a unit of nationally specific
lexicon conveyed through transcription or transliteration can not provide
a full expression of its lexical meaning. Then an additional explication
of its sense becomes necessary. It happens when the unit/notion of the
culturally biased lexicon is introduced in the target language for the first
time or when it is not yet known to the broad public of the target lan­
guage readers/listeners. The explanation may be given either in the
translated passage/speech flow, where the culturally biased unit is used,
or in a footnote - when a lengthy explication becomes necessary:
They took her to the Tower of Вони показали їй стародавню
London. (Jerome K.Jerome) лондонську фортецю Тауер.

Downing Street is g uarded Резиденцію прем 'єр-міністра

outside by a single policeman. Великої Британії охороняє
(London Illustrated) один полісмен.

As the dawn was just breaking Щойно стало розвиднятися, а
he found himself close to він уже був неподалік від

Covent Garden. (O.Wi Ide) ринку Ковент-Ґарден.

Не said that Wall Street and Він сказав, що Волл-Стріт і

Threadneedle Street between Треднідл-Cmpim1 удвох

them could stop the universe. (об'єднавши сили) спроможні

(R.AIdington) зупинити всесвіт.

It goes without saying that the transcribed or transliterated forms of Downing Street, Covent Garden or Threadneedle Street can not be sufficient for many foreign readers \p obtain a fairly correct idea of what really each of them denotes. Hence, some explication of their specific connotative meaning in footnotes becomes inevitable. Footnotes or lengthy explications should always be used when the culturally biased notions are not yet well-known in the target language. For example, surfing when only transliterated/transcribed as серфінґ will not express its denotative meaning which it in reality is - «the sport of riding waves into shore on a surfboard». Hence, a combined translation must be resorted to: серфінґ (ковзання на широкій овальній дошці по високій морській хвилі до берега); similarly with snow boarding which denotes спуск із гори на широкій лижві.

The kind of explication, naturally, can be acceptable in a dictio-

1 Треднідл-Стріт - вулиця в лондонському Сіті, де розташовані кілька головних банків Великої Британії.

Північної Америки на вітрильнику «Мейфлауер»; prorogation офіційне розпорядження монарха про відновлення/закінчення сесії парламенту Великої Британії) quartermaster старшина-стерновий у морській піхоті (and also квартирмейстер) в англ. армії. It goes without saying that such lengthy explications of «матрона» or «Батьки прочани» as well as «квартирмейстер» may be considered superfluous, as their use in translation would aggravate to some extent the elucidation of their proper meanings. There is no need to emphasize, however, that such lengthy explanations of specifically national notions are always required in the text of the translation/interpretation. And far from all culturally biased/specific units of national lexicon are so «heavily» loaded with information so that they have necessarily to be explicated in a foot­note. Quite often an explanation within the target language text may be sufficient enough too, as in the following examples: I thought of Phuong who would Я думав про Фуонґ, яка зараз

nary but scarcely acceptable in a broader text. That's why footnotes
become helpful here, though a frequent usage of them should be avoided
as well, since footnotes may divert the reader's attention from the con­
tent of the passage/work in which the specific national notions occur.
A combined translation may often be resorted to when a short
excerpt or sentence contains some specific notions of the kind:
A number of restaurants and caf- У Києві чимало ресторанів та
eterias in Kyiv specialize in кафетеріїв, що
varenyky (dumplings), kulish (а спеціалізуються на
thick meal stew) and other приготуванні вареників, кулішУ
dishes. (News from Ukraine) та інших страв.

No. 11 Downing Street is Будинок N 11 на Даунінґ-

guarded outside by a single cmpim (резиденція міністра

policeman too. (London lllus- фінансів Великої Британії)

trated) охороняється знадвору також

одним полісменом

Anybody in this country can see from the definition above that вареники are not simply dumplings, i.e., small balls of dough which can be cooked in soup or stew but a piece of flat dough wrapped around some salted/sweetish curd with fresh egg boiled and served hot with butter and sour cream. Varenyky can also be dumplings wrapped around mashed potatoes/stewed sauerkraut, etc. And also boiled and served hot with butter or small pieces of fried bacon and onions respectively1. Neither is куліш something like a thick me&l stew. Besides, kulish apart from some other features, not reflected in the translation above, is not always and not in all regions of Ukraine prepared thick, it may also be thin (soup-like).

3. By Descriptive Explaining/Explication OnlyFor some reason or other the orthographic form of a consider­able number of sense units belonging to the nationally specific lexi­con of the source language can not be rendered into the target lan­guage. That happens mostly when the transcription/transliteration can not be helpful in expressing the sense of the culturally biased national unit, or when it might bring about an unnecessary ambiguity in the target language narration/text cf.: matron завгосп у навчальному закладі (суміщає економку і медсестру); Pilgrim Fathers Батьки-прочани - перші колоністи з Англії, що прибули 1620 року до

1 Note: in some American restaurants Ukrainian varenyky are called ravioli (Ital.)-

be haggling over the price of fish in the third street down on the left before going for her elevenses to the milk-bar. (G.Greene)

No coffins were available, so they wrapped George in a blanket and in the Union Jack. (R.AIdington)


The Tommies were numbered, formed fours, right turned and marched away. (Ibid.)

I've got some shepherd's p/efor lunch today - that you used to like so much. (A.Cronin)

He's upset because we don't run Jim Crow buses. (B.Gerry)

Усі бачили, як ми у церкві на рушник стали. (П. Мирний) Пісок був теплий, як нагріта лежанка. (С. Руданський)

відчайдушно торгується за рибу на третій вулиці, в центрі лівої частини міста, перш ніж зайти до молочного бару біля одинадцятої і сяк-так/нашвидкоруч поснідати. У них не було готових домовин, тож вони замотали Джорджа у ковдру та в прапор Велико/Британії.

Рядових солдатів порахували, вишикували по чотири, повернули праворуч і відвели геть.

Я приготувала картопляну запіканку з м'ясом і цибулею, яку ти колись так любив.

Він дуже засмутився,що в нас не ходять автобуси тільки для негрів.

Everybody saw me and you being married in the church. The sand was warm like a clay stove of a country cottage.


As can be seen, not all the details constituting the semantic structure of the translated above units of specific national lexicon have been fully conveyed in English and Ukrainian translations. Thus, the «clay stove» does not sufficiently explicate the proper role of лежанка, for any stove predominantly implies its being used for cooking. In reality, however, the «clay stove» was designed in Ukrainian country cottages (khata) for heating and warming purposes only. Similarly with the former (historical) specific American racists' contemptuous unit «Jim Crow buses», which is not simply автобус для негрів, because «Jim Crow» was a contemptuous name for a Negro. When translated into Ukrainian simply as негр (автобус для негрів) the collocation would loose its connotative (contemptuous) meaning which is inherent in it. The same can be said about the Ukrainian culturally biased notion of рушник which is certainly not quite equivalent to the descriptive meaning of «embroidered in national colours towel», be­cause it is an indispensable item in every folk rite like birthday, wed­dings or burials. Besides, рушник is used in Ukraine on any other solemn or ceremonial occasion. That is why its translation in the above sentence is not fully and absolutely faithful. To convey the complexity of meaning contained by the national lexicon units of the kind, foot­notes may be resorted to as well. That is one more proof of the diffi­culties which the student sometimes comes across while dealing with some specifically national units of lexicon, which are always cultur­ally biased notions.

4. By Translation ofComponental Parts and Additional Explication of Units of the NationallyBiased Lexicon

The proper meaning of some specific units of the national lexi­con can be faithfully rendered by way of regular translation of all or some of their componental parts and explication of the denotative meaning pertaining to the source language unit. The combined ap­proach in the treatment of this group of specific national lexicon units is called forth by the complexity of meaning inherent in the source language units. It is also due to the inadequacy of componental trans­lation, which does not reveal the essentials that are absolutely indis­pensable for correct comprehension of the real meaning of the cultur­ally biased lexical units of the source language.

Due to this the way of rendering the meanings of this kind of units practically involves two simultaneous performances. The first is a regular translation of the main, if not all, componental parts and the next, which follows it, is a more or less exhaustive explanation of the essence pertained to the specific national element of the source lan-

guage. The extent of the explanation in the target language is first of all predetermined by the nature of the specific unit of national lexicon, by the purpose of translation, and also by some characteristic possi­bilities of the text in which the unit is used. When translating at lan­guage level (out of context) the explanation may be practically unre­stricted: Battle of Britain Битва за Англію (повітряні бої англійської авіації з гітлерівськими бомбардувальниками над територією Великої Британії, особливо в районі Лондона і Південної Англії 1940-1941 pp.); bull's eye бичаче око (круглий великий різноколірний м'ятний льодяник); collective membership тимчасове колективне членство в лейбористській партії (наприклад, на час виборів), профспілок, кооперативних товариств; члени цих організацій автоматично стають членами лейбористської партії); ginger ale, імбірний ель/імбірне ситро (безалкогольний газований напій); inner Cabinet «внутрішній кабінет» (кабінет у вузькому складі), до якого входять керівники найважливіших міністерств на чолі з прем'єр-міністром.

Such and the like explanations can not, naturally, be made in the text of a translation, hence they are given usually in the footnotes, as in the following examples:

«Well, I can tell you anything «Ну, я тобі можу розповісти
that is in an English bluebook, все, що написано в англійській
Harry.» (O.Wilde) «Синійкнизі.»1

Labour Day was past, but День ПрацР був позаду

summer still pressed down on (минув), а літня спека
the city. (M.Wilson) продовжувала зморювати.

Frances wanted very little: а Франсіс хотіла зовсім небагато:

salad, foasf melba, no wine, салат, грінки «мельба»3, без

only ice water. (A.Cronin) вина, і тільки воду з льодом.

When the lexical meaning of the unit of specific national lexi­
con is not so complex, as the given ones, it is usually explained in
the target language text. The explanation then, of course, is not al­
ways as exhaustive as it can be in a footnote, cf.:
Keep your fingers crossedior Щоб мені була вдача, склади
me! (M.Wilson) навхрест (хрестиком)
___________ пальці!.

1 «Синя книга» -збірник документів, що видається з санкції парламенту Великої
Британії в синіх палітурках.

2 «День Праці» - офіційне свято в США (відзначається у перший понеділок

3 На ім'я австралійської співачки Н. Мельби.


(I) Knew the Professor before he Я знав цього професора ще до

turned into a wooly West-Ender. того, як він став багатієм

(A.Cronin) аристократичного Вест-Енда.

Though veneered by his thirty Пройшовши за тридцять років

years in the Civil Service - he служби в державному апараті

had worked his way from boy від розсильного до завідуючого

clerk to principal - Gill was відділом, Джіл у душі все ж

human underneath. (A.Cronin) залишався людиною.

І will be in the Ladies Gallery Завтра о пів на дванадцяту я

tomorrow night at half past буду на жіночій гальорці в

eleven. (O.Wilde) палаті громад.

Левкові чи не вперше за своє It was probably for the first time

парубкування стало чомусь in all his mature boyhood that

тоскно. (М. Стельмах) Levko felt somewhat dull.

Згадав він поради свої... і Не recollected the pieces of advice

сільські весілля, на яких він he had once given - and the rural

грав весільного батька. (M. weddings at which he would perform

Коцюбинський) the honorary duty of the missing

bridegroom's or bride's father.

A fuller and more detailed explanation of the kind of nationally specific notions, as given above, is not desirable, since it would con­siderably extend the text of the translation. That is why the student should be warned not to unnecessarily enlarge the explanation of the culturally biased notions, unless required for their exhaustive and cor­rect comprehension. Laconism, therefore, should be the prevailing principle when dealing with the kind of specific national elements, but not to the detriment of explicitness/lucidity and faithfulness of their translation.

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Читайте в этой же книге: Identification of International Lexicon Units | Драматичний | WAYS OF CONVEYING THE LEXICAL MEANING OF GENUINE INTERNATIONALISMS | Translating by Practical Transcribing | Exercise IV. Translate the words and word-groups below into Ukrainian and identify which of them are genuine interna­tional or loan international, and which pseudo-international. | ХТО ЩО ВИГАДАВ | Macroeconomic Policies | Exercise XII. Translating the texts into English, define the possible ways of conveying internationalisms and proper names in them. | Г. Новий британський словник англійської мови | UNITS OF NATIONALLY BIASED LEXICON AND WAYS OF THEIR TRANSLATION |
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